The Orlando Consort, a male vocal quartet, has a range of repertory that is unusually wide among early music groups, running from Guillaume de Machaut through contemporary concert music and jazz. The group is prolific in its recordings, having released one or more albums every year since the early 1990s.
The Orlando Consort was formed in 1988 as a one-time touring group assembled by Britain's Early Music Network (now the National Centre for Early Music). The group came on the scene amid a general trend toward smaller ensembles in the performance of Renaissance polyphony, and it was immediately successful, and decided to remain intact for further performances. The group's original members were Robert Harre-Jones (counter-tenor), Charles Daniels (tenor), Angus Smith (tenor), and Donald Greig (baritone). As of 2019, Smith and Greig remain, while counter-tenor Matthew Venner and tenor Mark Dobell have replaced Harre-Jones and Daniels. The members of the group have mostly been drawn from top British early music choirs such as the Taverner Consort, the Tallis Scholars, and the Gabrieli Consort. From the beginning, the group combined a scholarly approach, winning the Noah Greenberg Award of the American Musicological Society in 1996, with attractive vocal quartet sounds that appealed to general audiences. The Orlando Consort has appeared at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival, and the group has toured extensively in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. It is among the few early music groups to have attempted the interpretively difficult music of Machaut, and its repertory runs forward from there to the middle of the 16th century. The group has also collaborated with musicians from outside the realm of Western concert music, including the jazz band Perfect Houseplants and the Indian tabla player Kuljit Bhamra, the latter on a project exploring Portuguese and Indian music in the state of Goa. The Orlando Consort has recorded mostly for the Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion labels, releasing Lament for Constantinople, a collection of chansons by Guillaume Dufay, in 2019.